When you are out on the lake, you have no way to tell where fish are hiding or feeding. However, you can seize the advantage and grab one of the portable fish finders you can carry with you on your kayak.
One of the issues isn’t just which is the best but also the right kayak fish finder to take with you. Can you fasten it to anything, and what happens if it falls into the water?
Our reviews have some of the best fish finder options for kayak use you can find on the market.
By the end of the reviews and buying guide, you’ll clearly understand which is the best fish finder for you.
Why You Need an Inexpensive Fish Finders For Kayaks
A fish finder for kayaks does much more than locate where the fish are. For one, they can help you see the bottom of the lake.
If you are in shallow waters, you may see the bottom, yet when in the middle, you’ll have no idea of the depth of the water and how long to make your lines.
Another feature many have is the built-in GPS; if you are in unchartered waters, you know you can find your way back to base.
Temperatures are also shown, which allows you to increase your success at different times of the year. One example is when fish are spawning.
Lastly, rather than use your phone, it is better to have a purpose-built device that is waterproof and can deal with kayak fishing rigors.
Top Inexpensive Fish Finders For Kayaks Reviews
1. Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4 with Transducer, 3.5” GPS Fishfinder with Chirp Traditional Transducer
Garmin is a huge name in GPS systems. The Garmin Striker 4 also benefits from highly sensitive built-in GPS.
You can view your speed and use the map to locate places like docks and stumps.
With the Garmin Striker 4, you get CHIRP sonar technology, which helps create fish arches that offer greater target separation.
While the screen is small at 3.5-inch, it is a full-color display, offering crisp and clear viewing angles in all conditions. Suitable for night or ice fishing.
The keypad-style controls are intuitive and easy to use; thus, you can easily navigate screens with gloves.
- Device has CHIRP sonar technology
- GPS directions help find fishing spots or your way home
- Works in freshwater to 1750 ft and saltwater to 830 feet
- IPX7 waterproof rating
- Screen size can be small for some people
- No advanced mapping
With a guide price of just under $110, you get features found on fish finders that are more expensive. You can see the temp, frequency, and directions. However, if you need basic functionality over better maps, this is one of the best kayak fish finders you can get.
2. ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder
One major difference with the Reel Sonar Wireless scanner is it uses your phone as the display.
The transducer is small enough to sit in hand, shaped like a ball, and can be used as a bobber for scans down to 135 feet in depth.
It sends signals to your phone by Bluetooth and can connect to Apple or Android devices. Its design is similar to some of the Lucky Wi-Fi models.
The iBobber lets you mark fish, map contour depths, and structures underwater structures. You can also save water temperatures and remember locations.
- Suitable for ice fishing or night fishing
- Good GPS features
- LED beacon
- Works in saltwater and freshwater
- Short battery life
- Can disconnect from Bluetooth on occasion
With a guide price of just over $65, the ReelSonar packs in lots of features yet are let down by needing a phone to view the display.
The fish finder comes with lots of durabilities, and it is a great fish finder for the right person who is happy to use their phone.
3. Lowrance HOOK2 4X – 4-inch Fish Finder with Bullet Skimmer Transducer
Whether you are in a kayak or canoe, finding fish is easier with the Lowrance Hook 4x. It is feature-packed and smart with its auto-tuning sonar and various menus. It is effortless to use, and you can customize the configuration.
Many automatic settings adapt to various situations, so for new users, the defaults are ideal. The Lowrance Hook 4x offers good CHIRP sonar with excellent coverage and more than some other fish finders like the widescreen option of the Humminbird Helix 5.
You have a built-in GPS to mark and navigate around your favorite spots. The detailed transducer presents you with two-dimensional views.
- CHIRP sonar technology
- Comes with GPS
- Suitable automatic settings
- Easy setup and use
- Small screen for some users
With a guide price of just below $110, you get a well-functioning device. It does, however, lose some of the more advanced features to some of its bigger Lowrance brothers.
4. Garmin Striker 4cv with transducer, 4” GPS Fishfinder with CHIRP Traditional and ClearVu Scanning Sonar Transducer and Built-In Quickdraw Contours Mapping Software
The 4” GPS Fishfinder comes with industry-leading Sonar and Quickdraw Contours Mapping Software.
You will find a transducer for CHIRP sonar along with ClearVü scanning. Now you can do contour mapping with 1’ contours and up to 2 million acres.
The detailed built-in GPS lets you mark waypoints, create your routes, and see your kayak’s speed and direction. While the screen isn’t the largest at just 4.3,” it is easy to read and will provide a means of reading the screen in any conditions.
You can even check if you are trolling at the right speed in controlled areas. The device is rugged and suitable for any fishing environment.
- Clear and easy to read screen color display
- Advanced high-frequency Chirp technology
- High-quality scanning
- Dual-beam sonar (like the Hawkeye Fishtrax 1C)
- Instructions are not clear
- No SD Card Slot
With a guide price of just over $160, it is at the top end of a budget, yet it is a quality fish catcher and can greatly enhance your fishing experience. It does suffer from depth reading in shallow waters, yet it is a great finder for your kayak.
5. LUCKY Portable Fish Finder Handheld Kayak Fish Finders Wired Fish Depth Finder Sonar Sensor Transducer for Boat Fishing Sea Fishing
The Lucky fish finder can help you make your next fishing trip successful. It helps to detect the depth of the water, the location of fish and rocks, or the bottom of the water.
You can change from feet to meters, and it can reach several hundred feet in depth. While handheld, you can hang the cheap kayak fish finder around your neck.
The design is easier to use than some, and you can even hang this portable fish finder around your neck. (Find the Best Fish Finder Under 1000)
There are several sensitivity options and also alarms when it finds fish. There is also a 1-year warranty.
- Uses CHIRP technology
- Lightweight and portable
- Works for endless fishing environments
- Doesn’t cope with cold weather
- Small screen
With a guide price of just under $80, you get a highly affordable kayak fish finder let down by the screen size. It does offer a 2.5-inch color screen, yet this could be too small for many.
However, it could be your favorite fishing finder until you are ready to move up to a 5-inch fish finder.
Inexpensive Fish Finders For Kayaks Buying guide
Here are several things you need to look for when you hunt for a fish finder for a kayak. (Read our Intex Excursion 5 Reviews)
Screens should be high resolution with a sharp contrast to help you see clearly and read what’s on the screen, particularly in full daylight.
It may sound like an advanced feature, yet a built-in GPS is a must. While it may not be on some models, it doesn’t mean every cheap fish finder will leave the feature out.
The transducer is what sends out the signals of sonar, which locate your fish. Depending on the type, you can mount them on your kayak so they are viewable, and you don’t need to hold them as you paddle into position constantly.
Some models could come with several cone angles, which cover wider and deeper angles.
You can find some of the best fish finders that come with variable frequencies. You could find some that offer a frequency as low as 50 kHz, which could offer a great angle for the signals. Variable frequencies can be handy in some situations, so you are never lacking.
Any fish finder for a kayak needs to be accurate. You may see some that come with an alarm to notify you when you find fish. While it could be annoying, it helps tell the difference between solid objects and your next catch. (Find the Best Kayak Roof Rack)
Chirp Sonar is one of the most current technologies that can tell the difference between fish and debris.
While testing which was the best fish finder for kayak fishing, these models covered all options, yet it was the features of the Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4 with transducer, 3.5” GPS Fishfinder with Chirp Traditional Transducer that made it stand out.
You get detailed GPS, location findings, and the device is super rugged. Although the screen is on the small side, it didn’t lack anywhere else.
The 1 Garmin Striker 4 gives great battery life, and it is easy to read and use in equal measure. The IPx7 waterproofing is one of the best fish finders for kayak fishing and the money.
Read more: Best Fish Finders for the Money